Gabriel Mounce, director of the U.S. Space Force’s accelerator program, has said that the government must modernize its research and development practices to keep up with industry’s efforts to innovate in space programs.
Mounce wrote in an opinion piece published Friday on SpaceNews that while the government’s barriers in space programs increase compliance and ensure proper allocation of taxpayer dollars, these can have an “adverse effect” of hindering innovation in government efforts.
He noted that several defense entities have adopted new approaches that provide an opportunity for startups to connect directly with agencies to ensure their technologies’ viability for missions or discover new uses for such capabilities.
Initiatives such as the U.S. Air Force’s accelerators and incubators, pitch days and the AFWERX Challenge help nontraditional firms partner with the government without having to undergo strict parameters in traditional contracting procedures such as the Small Business Innovation Research program, according to Mounce.
“The commercial market is now driving almost all innovation in space technology, so it only makes sense for the government to pivot its practices to more quickly adopt the best from the market,” he said.
Mounce also serves as head of technology commercialization and economic development at the Air Force Research Laboratory.